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International Affairs: #2 Punk band Pussy Riot

Yahoo News

The three members of Pussy Riot, a Russian punk band that mocked President Vladimir Putin during a "punk prayer" in a Moscow cathedral, were found guilty of hooliganism in August, and two were sentenced to two years in jail, sounding an echo of free-speech suppression familiar during the Cold War.

"The girls' actions were sacrilegious, blasphemous, and broke the church's rules," Judge Marina Syrova said while announcing the verdict from a court in central Moscow. Yekaterina Samutsevich was released on a suspended sentence, but her bandmates were sent to separate prison camps later that month.

The trial drew enormous international interest, sparking catcalls from global free-speech advocates and spawning dozens of protests. Several impromptu protests broke out in Moscow, London, Paris, Barcelona and elsewhere, with numerous reports of arrests. Madonna, Björk, Paul McCartney and Courtney Love were among a long list of musicians to come out in support of Pussy Riot, calling on the Russian government to set the feminist collective free.

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